Fortress Bolitho invaded by the Police
Playing their 3rd home game in 8 days, Parkway entertained the Metropolitan Police in front of a very good midweek crowd of 538.
The long midweek journey for the visitors was necessitated by the original fixture on a Saturday in November being called off 10 minutes before kick off with both teams still warming up! Parkway made 3 changes from Saturday’s win over Swindon Supermarine with debutant Jack Arthur replacing Harrison Lee in goal with Mikey Williams and Harrison King starting in place of Toby Down and Arron Goulty respectively.
Full Match Report
Images: Tom Finnie
The game began at a lively pace with both sides feeling each other out with an early break by the visitors on 7 minutes seeing Conor Lee fire well over from around 15 yards.
Parkway gradually began to take control of the game and on 10 minutes a long ball from Ryan Lane found Ben Seymour wide on the left who cut inside and drilled in a low drive which was pushed behind by Liam Beach in the Police goal.
Parkway now looking the more dangerous side almost took the lead in the 12th minute. Good work by Jack Crago on the right saw him win the ball close to the bye line and fire in a low shot from a narrow angle which beat Beach on his inside and hit the far post and roll agonisingly back along the goal line before being hacked to safety.
Parkway continued to dominate possession in midfield switching play from flank to flank at pace forcing the visitors on to the back foot.
On 14 minutes a Parkway free kick was only half cleared with Crago hooking the loose ball just over.
Parkway continued in the ascendancy, moving the ball at pace and stretching play and on 18 minutes a long clearance found Crago clear on the left who squared the ball to Seymour who did well to turn his marker with his shot being blocked.
Rio Garside pounced on the loose ball with his shot also being bravely blocked by some desperate defending. The visitors were being forced to play on the counter and on 22 minutes Liam Ferdinand broke clear along the left with his angled drive from around 15 yards being well saved by the feet of Arthur for his first real involvement of the game.
Parkway continued to dictate the tempo of the game with Dan Rooney looking accomplished in midfield prompting and probing openings with his range and quality of passing.
Callum Hall was as hardworking as ever in midfield breaking up play, winning second balls and getting into forward positions supporting the strikers. Crago picked up the game’s first yellow card for a foul on 25 minutes.
Parkway continued to dominate possession and on 27 minutes good build up play along the left after a mazy run from the back by the elusive Williams ended with his shot being well saved by Beach.
The keeper was called into action again shortly after, racing from his line to just gather the ball ahead of Crago just inside the 18 yard area.
Play continued at a pace in a congested midfield with Hall the 2nd Parkway player to be booked after a foul with the free kick forcing the visitor’s first corner on 33 minutes.
The corner from the right flew over everyone finding Harry Taylor at the far post who bundled his effort into the side netting from close range.
Parkway responded immediately and on 36 minutes won a free kick centrally around 20 yards out with Seymour’s kick being superbly saved by Beach.
Parkway’s pressure continued and on 37 minutes Williams did well to win the ball deep in his own half, link well with Lane whose cross dropped to Garside who shot just wide.
Lane then played another long ball into the left channel with Crago going clear and his deep cross just evading Seymour who had found space on the right. Parkway were completely outplaying the visitors who continued to dig in and defend in numbers with their goal bearing a charmed life.
On 44 minutes a Parkway attack long the left saw Lane’s angled drive from around 18 yards blocked with a follow up shot from the rebound also blocked and somehow cleared. The final action of the half in the 1 added minute saw Lane’s long diagonal ball from left to right find King whose dangerous cross was blocked and cleared.
A half almost entirely dominated by Parkway who played some delightful football creating numerous chances only to be denied by some resolute defending, fine goalkeeping and at times wayward finishing.
Little was seen of the visitors in the final third with the Parkway defence dealing comfortably with the sporadic attacks and Arthur rarely called into action on his debut with the game somehow remaining scoreless.
With many in the crowd still returning from their half time pint and pasty, the 2nd half started in dramatic fashion.
Virtually straight from the kick off the visitors took the lead. A break along the right saw Arthur at full stretch parry a shot away with the loose ball dropping to the unmarked Ferdinand who prodded home from close range.
Parkway looked shocked and almost almost conceded a 2nd goal a minute later. A hurried clearance from Arthur under pressure from Martell Taylor-Crossdale rebounded off the attacker and on to the post with the ball fortunately rolling behind for a goal kick.
A definite let off. Parkway quickly regrouped looking to regain control of midfield and began to reapply pressure.
On 51 minutes a Parkway break along the left looked to release Seymour who was just beaten to the ball but appeared to pull up.
Parkway were then forced into a substitution on 54 minutes with Tom Bath replacing Seymour who was unable to continue with what looked a reoccurrence of a previous injury.
Parkway continued to press forward with Met Police looking to contain and countert by flooding midfield and defending deep.
On the hour a shot from distance by Bath flew just wide with Beach seemingly having it covered. Beach excelled again on 61 minutes by diving high to his right and finger tipping over powerfully hit rising drive by Lane.
Central striker Taylor-Crossdale was replaced by Josh Keeya for the visitors on 66 minutes presumably to shore up their midfield.
Parkway continued to dominate possession with Hall driving forward on 68 minutes but slicing his shot wide from around 20 yards.
With Parkway throwing men forward looking to force an equaliser, they began to leave themselves exposed at the back and on 69 minutes only a superbly timed tackle by Austen Booth in the 18 yard box denied the visitors a shooting opportunity after they had broken clear along the right.
With play becoming more intense and at times feisty, on 70 minutes Lane became the 3rd Parkway player to be booked after a hefty challenge.
On 72 minutes Bath and Crago linked well with a strong tackle denying Crago a shot with the ball deflected for a corner. Aaron Goulty then replaced Garside with Williams moving into a more advanced position on the right as Parkway looked to stretch the visitors defence.
The Police continued to look to counter attack and on 75 minutes a strong pacey run along the right from deep in his own half by Keeya saw him race clear towards an exposed Parkway backline with his final cross lacking direction with Booth clearing the danger.
Louis Birch then saw yellow as the midfield battle continued with Parkway probing and pressing with the Police defence holding firm.
On 76 minutes Parkway almost equalised after Bath flicked a header on from another free kick to Crago who under pressure from a defender pushed his close range effort just wide.
Another Police counter on 77 minutes saw Rooney booked for a foul just outside side the 18 yard box with Herson Rodrigues-Alves firing the kick narrowly wide.
Parkway continued to force the pace looking to create openings and forced another corner on 82 minutes with Callum Rose at the back post heading just over. On 86 minutes good play along the right between Williams and King saw the latter’s cross find Bath whose powerful header from around 6 yards towards the top right hand corner was somehow clawed over by Beach at full stretch to keep his side ahead.
The visitor’s apparent delaying tactics in the final stages as they looked to see the game out resulted in 7 minutes of stoppage time during which they replaced Ferdinand with Jasper Mather.
Parkway continued to look to create a final chance but were unable to do so with the game finishing with the Police breaking away in the 6th minute of stoppage forcing a corner and remaining in possession in the corner until the final whistle with Parkway unable to break out.
A thoroughly frustrating evening for Parkway who created numerous chances, dominated large parts of the game and cannot be faulted for effort or commitment only to be punished by a sucker punch at the start of the 2nd half which turned out to be the visitor’s only effort of the half on target.
Despite being outplayed for much of the game, solid defending under pressure by a well organised and competitive Police coupled with some inspired goalkeeping saw them probably fortunate to nick the 3 points with a classic smash and grab raid with Parkway extremely unfortunate not to get anything from the game which brought their long unbeaten home league run to an end. Just one of those games in which you don’t always get what you deserve, similar in a way to the reverse fixture which also saw a narrow 1-0 victory for the Police.
Other results on the night sees Parkway remain relatively safe in 11th place with the last of their 4 consecutive home games coming on Saturday when 19th placed Harrow Borough are the visitors.
1 Arthur, 2 King, 3 Lane ©, 4 Hall, 5 Rose, 6 Booth, 7 Williams, 8 Rooney, 9 Seymour (Bath 54), 10 Garside (Goulty 73), 11 Crago
Substitutes: 12 Billington |(unused|), 14 Goulty, 15 Bath, 16 Down (unused)
1 Beach, 2 Lee, 3 Fisher, 4 Birch, 5 Tanner, 6 Taylor, 7 Knight, 8 Robertson ©, 9 Taylor-Crossdale (Keeya 66), 10 Rodrigues-Alves, 11 Ferdinand (Mather 90+3)
Substitutes: 12 Burrowes (unused), 14 Frimpong (unused|), 15 Keeya, 16 Richards (unused), 17 Mather